By Ralphine Major
They first appeared in my column on the front page of The Focus, September 10, 2012, “Volunteers of Time and Talent.” In their retirement, Betty and Clayton Sharp dedicated endless hours to a number of worthwhile causes in the Gibbs Community and far beyond.
In 2012, they were among the Senior Stars honored for their volunteer work by Covenant Health. For years, the Sharps did volunteer work at St. Mary’s Medical Center (now closed) and Tennova Residential Hospice. Betty used her talents to crochet caps for chemo patients and newborns. Their volunteer work expanded to cousin John Rice Irwin’s Museum of Appalachia where Clayton worked as a blacksmith. The Sharps were active members of Clapps Chapel United Methodist Church and often visited the sick and shut-ins as long as their health would allow.
Betty worked for 32 years in the Knox County School System, following in her father’s footsteps. Focus readers may remember Professor H. G. Loy, often called “Prof Loy,” who served as principal at Gibbs High School as well as Central High School.
Our father went to school with Clayton and Betty; my brother and I went to school with their sons, Rancy and Monty. We lost Betty in October 2019, and the Gibbs Community lost a great friend. Even in later years after being a teacher, Betty was a great role model. Her volunteer spirit and the work she did to help others leaves us with such a wonderful example of the many ways we can be a light in the lives of others.